Fire burns off a side of Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth

 
 
Updated 7/17/2018 10:10 PM
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  • The blaze's damage was worst on the north side of the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth.

    The blaze's damage was worst on the north side of the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Helicopter video footage shows crews battling a fire in the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth on Tuesday.

    Helicopter video footage shows crews battling a fire in the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth on Tuesday. COURTESY OF ABC 7

  • Helicopter video footage shows crews battling a fire in the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth on Tuesday.

    Helicopter video footage shows crews battling a fire in the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth on Tuesday. COURTESY OF ABC 7

  • Crews had to work to get into position to battle a fire in the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth on Tuesday.

      Crews had to work to get into position to battle a fire in the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth on Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Drone photography shows the moat that surrounds the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth. Firefighters drew water from the moat to fight the blaze.

    Drone photography shows the moat that surrounds the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth. Firefighters drew water from the moat to fight the blaze. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Crews battle a fire in the pyramid structure in Wadsworth on Tuesday.

      Crews battle a fire in the pyramid structure in Wadsworth on Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Firefighters had to bring equipment across bridges to get to the Gold Pyramid House on North Dilley's Road in Wadsworth.

    Firefighters had to bring equipment across bridges to get to the Gold Pyramid House on North Dilley's Road in Wadsworth. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Firefighters' hoses extend across a bridge to the Gold Pyramid House to extinguish the blaze Tuesday.

    Firefighters' hoses extend across a bridge to the Gold Pyramid House to extinguish the blaze Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth features a replica of a King Ramses II statue.

      The Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth features a replica of a King Ramses II statue. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

For nearly 30 years the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth was coated in 24-karat electro gold and glistened in the sun. The owners had to remove the gold in 2011 because it was too blinding.

Now the big pyramid is even dimmer after one of its four sides was burned away in a fire Tuesday.

Firefighters were called to the iconic six-story-tall, 17,000-square-foot home about 4 p.m. Gurnee Fire Department Battalion Chief David Douglass said when the 9-1-1 call came in a person trapped in the house, but by the time they arrived the person had been evacuated.

ABC 7 Chicago reported Gurnee firefighters received a report of an elderly man in a wheelchair and a dog trapped in the home. Fire officials said bystanders were able to rescue the man, while firefighters went in looking for the dog.

Extremely heavy smoke on the third, fourth and fifth floors, as well as the unique and confusing layout of the home, caused several firefighting companies to become lost in the house, ABC 7 reported. All were rescued or were able to eventually find their way out.

Fire officials said two or three firefighters sustained very minor injuries and none needed treatment at a hospital, ABC 7 reported. The dog died in the fire, officials said.

Earlier ABC reported that a resident said work was being done on the house when the fire started.

Crews battled the flames for more than three hours. To get to the house, on the 37000 block of North Dilleys Road, they needed to cross the two bridges that go over the massive moat that surrounds the home.

Douglass said the moat turned out to be helpful because they were able to draw water from it to fight the fire.

He said the fire was difficult to fight because of the building's unusual shape.

"From the ground to the peak of the roof, or to the point of the pyramid, there's a lot of void spaces in the walls," Douglass said.

He confirmed when asked that this is the first time his department has ever fought a fire in a pyramid.

Though firefighters kept their hoses trained on the flames for hours, the fire ate away much of the north side of the home and left black scars along the west side as well. Water from the hoses could be seen rushing out of the home's west entrance. The extent of the damage to the ornately decorated interior of the home was not known Tuesday night.

Jim and Linda Onan began building the home in 1977, and it was finished in 1982.

"I told him I wanted to build a normal house," Linda Onan told the Daily Herald in 2006. "I didn't get my wish."

The Onans ran tours of the home for 17 years. Jim Onan told the Daily Herald in 2011 he had to take the gold plating off because his neighbors complained it was too blinding. This year tours have been scheduled on Sundays from May 6 to Oct. 28.

The property also features a 55-foot King Ramses II replica and a garage built to resemble three smaller pyramids.

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